Two Brazilian cardinals already in Rome for the conclave that will choose a new pope spent some time on Wednesday trying to clarify previous declarations about the catholic faith of Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Rio’s archbishop, Eusébio Oscar Cardinal Scheid, prepared a written declaration to explain his remarks on Lula made on Tuesday upon his arrival in the Rome airport. He had said that the Brazilian President “is not Catholic, he is chaotic.”
In his explanation, the Rio archbishop, in essence confirmed what he had told the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, including that “He (the President) and the Holy Spirit don’t understand each other.”
In the written text, Don Eusébio repeated that the succession of the pope is a subject that Lula had no business dealing with. The Brazilian President had declared that he was friends with the Brazilian cardinals and that he would love to see a Brazilian chosen as the new pope.
“It didn’t seem to me that a subject involving the Holy Spirit would come within the scope of our President, since, in matters of faith, moral and ethics of our Church, he seemed more confused, ambiguous (‘chaotic’) than authentic and clear, that is, not sufficiently ‘catholic.’
Cardinal Scheid stressed that he had no intention of disrespecting Lula’s authority and blamed somewhat the media: “The interview was kind of forced upon me by several reporters and broadcasters and was given in an improper location, with all the noise at the exit of the Rome airport, after a long and tiring trip.”
São Paulo’s archbishop Don Cláudio Hummes, who is a “papabile,” entered the discussion to talk about his relationship with Lula: “I know him since he was a union leader and a political leader. He is a Christian his own way and he is a catholic his own way.”
Hummes revealed that he has been giving communion to the President mainly on the celebration of Labor Day, on May 1st: “For me Lula is catholic like all the other catholics from Brazil. Not like all, because catholics are diverse in their practice. I consider him a catholic.”
The Rio Cardinal in the original interview with O Estado had criticized Lula for defending abortion and gay rights: “A Catholic cannot be in favor of abortion. His relations with gays – who approved all that? He left us all rather confused.”
For the archbishop, the President has what he calls “an illogical and uncultivated Catholic faith.” Scheid also saw ulterior motives on Lula’s decision to attend the funeral of pope John Paul II: “He expects political dividends from this.”
Scheid also said that most politicians in Brazil are untrustworthy and for him leftists are very dangerous: “Politicians say one thing today and something else tomorrow. The Left, on the other hand, never brought benefits to anyone. Look at Russia, China and Cuba.”
Don Eusébio tried to justify the superficial religious knowledge of the Brazilian President appealing to his roots: “He was born in the working class, with all its confusions. He never had a proper education and deepening of his faith.”
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